TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Trim

It's pouring rain this Sunday afternoon so I'm catching up on the documentation instead of working on the canoe. With the hull mostly finished it is time to work on the trim. I knew what I wanted for the gunwales, but I couldn't get it done by myself in the garage so I drew up some plans, emailed them to Andy and recruited his help to get them done. I always learn a lot working with Andy as he shows me lots of woodworking tricks. He follows the mantra of spending a little extra time building a good jig will get the job done right and save time in the end.

The gunwales are made up of an inwale and an outwale on each side of the boat. A fair bit of milling was needed to shape them how I wanted. The inwale and outwale are each nominally 3/4" x 3/4", but I added a slight bevel on the side that attaches to the hull. There is a little bit of tumblehome (curving inwards) of the shear line at the middle of the boat so the bevel should help make the top of the gunwales horizontal instead of slanted. I will have to plane off the bevel towards the stems where the sides of the boat are almost vertical. We also beveled the bottom of the outwale to make it a little more elegant and lighter and rounded off the outside corners of both inwale and outwale. There are eight 6" scuppers on 12" centers on the inwale. Since I could only find 13' long ash boards we also cut scarf joints on the ends of the strips to join another 4' long piece on each. Andy constructed a sled jig for the table saw that made these joints perfectly. It can be seen in the photo with Andy. To cut the scuppers we used a router and made a jig to hold the inwale and cut four identical scuppers at a time spaced the correct distance apart. This jig was simply two flat strips of wood spaced 3/4" apart with another strip of wood that positioned the inwale in the right location when it was all screwed together. The top strip had the scupper forms cut into it for the router bit to follow. Andy also likes to make extra copies of everything so now I have three sets of gunwales! I guess I'll use the best ones for now and keep the other two for my next two boats!

Taking advantage of the workshop and the joiner I picked up a nice piece of Western Red Cedar from Minton's before heading over to Santa Cruz and brought along the extra Port Orford Cedar from making the inside stems and we cut some boards to use for making the bow and stern decks. They will have a half inch stripe of PO Cedar between two WRC halves. I will epoxy these together and shape them with the chisel and plane.

I strapped long gunwale pieces back onto the roof racks to bring them home, wrapped in plastic because of all the rain.
I also ordered the seats last week. I went for the plain straight ash seats. There are contoured ones that looked pretty nice, but I decided that someday I might make my own seats so its probably better to just get the standard ones for now - I don't want them to outshine my own handiwork! I ordered from in New Hampshire. They look pretty nice on the website and they're less than half the price of Bear Mountain Boats' seats. They have a return policy so if I don't like them I can replace them. They should be here in a couple days!

Hot Valentine's Date

I'm a little late on writing down what I've done on the canoe recently. I've had some productive weekends in February though. After my last entry about scraping the inside of the hull I went at it with the 80-grit on the ROS and then sanded it down to a smoother finish with 120-grit paper wrapped around a couple of tightly rolled up magazines. After sanding I wet it down with a damp cloth. Dampening the wood swells the fibres and reveals where more sanding is needed so I repeated this process a couple of times.
With the inside finished it was time to get out the epoxy and fibreglass again. The timing for this activity just happened to coincide with Valentine's Day. Now that Tracy and I have been married for a few years, the traditional fancy meal out has been done so what says "I love you" better than spending a day together with face masks, rubber gloves and toxic chemicals? It's a two person job for sure and Tracy and I have a good system down. She mixes, keeps track of where I am and touches up the spots that I don't have time to get to. We rolled out the glass over the inside and I cut it where I thought it should end. After making the cut though it seemed a couple inches short. I'm not really sure how I did that, but I had little choice but to live with it. The glass isn't supposed to go all the way to the ends anyways and it will be covered by the deck on the one end that it is a couple inches short. I don't think it hurts the integrity of the boat. The inside is a little trickier than the outside because the glass tends to pull away from the hull if you tug on it. I was more aggressive with the squeegeeing this time. I only want to use two coats of epoxy on the inside so it is much more important to eliminate the drips and puddles. For the most part I think it worked out great. I got a little bit zealous with the squeegeeing towards the end and I tugged the cloth a little two much causing some wrinkles. Once this happenned I tried to tug on the cloth diagonally to get rid of the wrinkles and this just caused more. As I was trying to get rid of these the epoxy was starting to set making it more and more difficult. After a while I realised that everything I was doing was just making it worse so I packed it in and crossed my fingers. Now that it is fully set I can certainly see the wrinkles, but the fabric isn't exposed and its not glaring - probably not noticable unless you're looking for it and it will be underneath the stern seat. Well those are my canoe confessions for today. I guess anybody reading this will now know what to look for! :-P